Flooding is a common, naturally occurring event in B.C. Although it can happen at any time of year, the most severe floods typically occur in spring — known as freshet — or during fall and winter. This seasonal flooding is usually caused by heavy rain and snowmelt.
Homes may be at risk when flood water spreads to adjoining areas that are normally dry. Depending on the type and severity of flooding, it could take hours, weeks and potentially months for the water to recede and the clean-up to begin.
If you face a threatening flood situation, park vehicles away from streams and waterways, move electrical appliances to upper floors and make sure to anchor fuel supplies. Listen to local officials if you are asked to evacuate.
Protect Your Home and Property
Download the PreparedBC: Flood Information for Homeowners and Home Buyers guide (PDF, 2.22MB) to learn about protecting your home and property.
Recognize the Danger Signs
Heavy snowmelt may contribute to landslides and dangerous debris in creeks and waterways. Be safe and don’t go down to watch the rushing water. If you notice trees beginning to lean or bend near your home, or cracks developing in the hillside, consult an engineer or contact local authorities.
If you live near a waterway, a change in water colour or rapid change in water level (especially a drop) could indicate a problem upstream. Call your local fire, police or public works department immediately if you suspect something out of the ordinary.
It takes two people about one hour to fill and place 100 sandbags, giving you a one-foot-by-20-foot wall. Make sure you have enough sand, burlap or plastic bags (NOTE: you should tie the ends of plastic bags shut to prevent the sand and bags from washing away), shovels and time to prepare properly.
Instructions on how to build a sandbag dike to protect your property from flood waters.